Scout report: Marseille’s Chelsea target Gilbert ‘Gianelli’ Imbula

En Avant de Guingamp, Marseille, Chelsea.

So (after a spell at Le Mans) went the career progression of Blues legend Didier Drogba and so – if many reports are to believed – will follow the story of French Under-21 midfielder Gianelli Imbula.

Having played eight top-flight games in France and two Champions League games just what does the player have to offer a Chelsea side 23/20 to win away at Schalke in their next outing?

Imbula has averaged 2.6 tackles and 1.1 interceptions per game in Ligue 1 this season.

As befits a player who earned comparisons to Patrick Vieira and Claude Makelele during his Ligue 2 player of the season and promotion-winning 2012/13 campaign with Guingamp, the 20-year-old is a defensive midfielder who is already a highly proficient ball-winner on the deck.

His tackling stat would have him behind only Ramires in the commensurate table of Stamford Bridge players.

With six goals in 116 games for Guingamp and Marseille it’s fair to say that his scoring record is certainly more redolent of the former.

The Marseille youngster has dribbled past 21 players in his last 10 league and Champions League games.

Among his L’OM colleagues only forward Mathieu Valbuena has beaten more men with the ball at his feet this term.

As such it’s unsurprising that Imbula is regarded as more of a box-to-box midfielder in the Vieira mould than a centre-circle sitter such as Makelele and his ability to break through opposition lines is one of his main assets from an attacking perspective.

His pass completion percentage is the sixth highest of any Ligue 1 midfielder to make more than four starts in 2013/14.

With five of those players ahead of him in the successful pass stakes playing for PSG his ability to so often select the right ball whilst functioning as a conduit between attack and defence should only improve further with experience.